Tag Archives: Judith Lorber

Gender Stereotyping

This hearing advertisement by Widex takes on a different marketing approach to their products as they use a stereotypical portrayal of a man to their advantage. The caption “Men never listen. Still, it’s nice to know they can” speaks to the notion that men have selective hearing when communicating with women. This advertisement suggests that, if men buy this product they do not have an excuse not to listen to what women are saying. As mentioned by Lorber, “in social interactions… individuals learn what is expected, see what is expected, act and react in expected ways, and thus simultaneously construct and maintain the gender order” (Lorber 115). This add reiterates her point because it demonstrates how men may behave with women based on the social constructions that encourages them to detach from expressing emotions and fully communicating. Men are encouraged to look at women but not listen. Paying attention to details is not considered a macho trait and is not widely used to describe a man’s personality. This social construction as well as the many other traits learned by men encourages rational and less sensitivity to details whereas women are stereotyped as natural listeners capable of empathy. As Gloria Anzaldua mentions in La conciencia de la mestizo, acting macho is a learned behavior that is the result of hierarchal male dominance. With these gender roles men may become “confused and entangled with sexist behaviors that they have not been able to eradicate” (84).For these reasons, men may oppose the behaviors they feel inclined to in order to maintain their constructed gender roles.

Sources:

The Social Construction of Gender by Judith Lorber

La conciencia de la mestiza; Towards a New Consciousness by Gloria Anzaldua

Ad critique

This add, even if satire, is openly sexist and should be treated as such. Just because something is made to be tongue and cheek doesn’t disqualify it from being offensive. In fact, this sales pitch falls flat on its face because you are telling 50% of the population that this drink is “too manly” for you and that you shouldn’t drink it. This Stratified approach that Judith Lorber talks about speaks favorably to men while belittling women and their perceived taste in soft drinks and movie genres. I only have one thing to say to the people at Dr. Pepper who came up with this ad. “You can keep your sexism and shitty cola, I’m good.”

Ad Critique Post – DiGiorno Pizza Commercial

The DiGiorno commercial ties very well with the main ideas discussed in Beauvior’s text titled The Second Sex: Introduction and Lorber’s text titled The Social Construction of Gender. In this commercial both genders are stereotyped into traditional gender roles as the men are seen relaxing outside while viewing sports and the woman is seen heading into her home with two large grocery bags. The men decide to order a pizza – but the main male character decides to call his spouse instead to demand her to make him a pizza the way he likes it. She replies, “you know I hate when you do this” as if this is an everyday occurrence between the two of them. He then demands her to make the pizza quickly.  This commercial resembles how Beauvior discusses gender: “man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him” (Beauvior 33). Her existence is dependent on serving men instead of being independent to do the task she enjoys. Lober’s belief that gender “creates the social difference that define woman and man” because people “learn what is expected…thus simultaneously construct and maintain the gender order” (Lorber 115). This construction is seen as the woman is expected to make the pizza for the men as she always does. After making the pizza the woman retaliates by turning the sprinkler on the three men. The men have no reaction and continue to watch sports, as if they are oblivious to her existence. Their actions demonstrate that men are seen as the supreme and the woman is only significant in service to men. Therefore, the woman is only defined according to the men’s terms.

Judith Lorber, “The Social Construction of Gender”, 1990.

De Beauvoir, Simone. “The Second Sex: Introduction.”, 2003.

Big Question: Is there such a thing as free choice?

Several of the authors we have read use the term destiny, implying that individuals have no personal control over their gender identity, and therefore, no free choice. Judith Butler, namely, posits that the gendered expectations and structures are so pervasive that culture “becomes destiny,” forcing people into preset norms. Though it would be foolish to overlook the influence of gendered culture, this conception of gender as a rigid destiny is incomplete; gender is also a process, as Judith Lorber articulates. Though admittedly difficult, I believe people can impose their free will against gender norms, and alter gender norms through the “resistance and rebellion” that Lorber describes. People can subtely deviate from traditional conceptions of femininity and masculinity, and exhibit and individuality contrary to ‘destiny.’

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999.
Lober, J. (2006) The social construction of gender. In E. Disch (Ed.), Reconstructing gender: a multicultural anthology. McGraw.

Hanes: Offensive Equality

After watching this short advertisement for socks, it is clear that there are multiple forms of gender discrimination occurring. Not only is the ad sexist towards men, but the woman is given a gender role to fill. The advertisement portrays men as inept beings with a caveman mentality. It does this because the man creates what he thinks is a revolutionary paste, which in all actuality isn’t a bright idea. Thus, the man provides a solution to an easy problem which the women easily solves by pulling some socks out of her bag. The question then is, why did the woman have some socks in her bag? Judith Lorber would describe this scenario as a woman “doing gender,” for it is in this moment that she is assigned a gender role and becomes the house mother. In the advertisement Hanes manages to offend both men and women. This reinforces the notion that society “does gender” without even knowing it (Lorber). Despite society’s acceptance of these ads they still manage to hit television, and in the words of the cute little boy, “[We’re] sick of it!”

Works Cited:

Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. Estelle Disch, editor. 4th ed. 2006.

Big Question: Free choice and ‘Lean In’

Our environment, including features like the people we are around or the ideas exposed to us, shapes how we make decisions. If our circumstances sway us to prefer certain options, perhaps our choices aren’t the result of free choice.

Lorber explains how this happens in “The Social Construction of Gender.” She points out that gender is pushed on us as early as birth. Based on gender, our parents give us boy or girl names and dress us and talk to us in ways that reinforce gender. Later, gender continues on to shape our values and behaviors. It also shapes our ambitions, influencing our future selves as well.

In Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, Sandberg cites gender as limiting the career plans of women. She brings attention to the values that we cultivate in young girls, like not being bossy. At an early age, we reinforce gender expectations for girls to not become leaders for fear that they will be seen as bossy. In this case, gender as a circumstance has limited girls. This is one example of social circumstances making choices for us.

Lober, J. (2006) The social construction of gender. In E. Disch (Ed.), Reconstructing gender: a multicultural anthology. McGraw.

Sandberg, S. (2013) Lean in: Women, work, and the will to lead. New York: Knopf.

Ad Critique: Dr. Pepper’s Guide to Gender Equality

Often, we are offended by ads that objectify women. This Dr. Pepper commercial does not do so and thus probably incites less outrage than one depicting almost-naked women. This sort of commercial, however, is similarly detrimental to gender equality. Certainly, the burly man in the commercial is, as Judith Lorber refers to it, “doing gender,” as he ruggedly carries a tree, sports a manly flannel, calls to nature with a forceful posture, and travels fearlessly through the wilderness.1 By contributing to gender as the process that teaches young boys acceptable traits and how to act, the character is reinforcing “the social differences that define ‘woman’ and ‘man.’”

Perhaps more importantly, however, in promoting the idea of manliness, the commercial is helping to perpetuate the male sex’s domination. The first line of the commercial is a perfect example as it states, “There is no such thing as a no man’s land to me.”2 In essence, everywhere belongs to man. Christine Delphy illustrates the underlying issue with this commercial when she writes, “[Sex] serves to allow social recognition and identification of those who are dominants and those who are dominated.” Dr. Pepper is implicitly reminding men that its product will help to ensure their male superiority.

Low-calorie items are usually marketed towards women. While embracing man’s dominance is an excellent marketing strategy, it should be interpreted as offensively as commercials objectifying women.

1. Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender (1990).” In Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology, edited by Estelle Disch, 113-120. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006, 113.

2. Delphy, Christine. “Rethinking Sex and Gender.” In Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives, by Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim, 57-67. New York: Routledge, 2003, 62.